A sweet surprise

There is nothing better than coming home to a clean kitchen, which I was not anticipating to come home to after my Primary presidency meeting. But I was greeted by Phillip at the garage door with a good hug, only to find out that he had done the dinner dishes, wiped off the table, and was sweeping the floor.
 Thank you Phillip for making my day!
As happy as I was to be met by Phillip's kindness I was also greeted by Rita who was suffering from a bad stomach ache. Stomach bugs are never fun, but they can be really awful when you get bad stomach cramps. Again, Phillip amazed me by reading to Rita since she still wanted to do her personal scripture study for the day but didn't feel up to it. I didn't realize what he was doing until I walked past and saw where he was reading from. It was exactly where Rita left off yesterday. Those unexpected, unplanned, and unprompted tender moments witnessed between siblings are more precious than gems for a mama.

Little things

In life, it's really the little things that make us the happiest.
Like watching your 2 year old take care of her baby with tender, loving affection. Or being shushed by that same 2 year old because your talking too loudly while her baby is "seeping". Watching Sonora be nurturing truly warmed my heart today.
But her need to find a suitable chair to sit in while eating her snack made me unexpectedly laugh out loud this afternoon!
And seeing Rita blossom into an avid reader over the last three weeks has surprised me and made me happy that she has discovered the true joy of reading. We love reading together in the evenings when we can steal away for a few moments together, but watching her grab book after book and read on her own is a wonderful sight to behold.

A day in the life of me

The kids come home from school every day and ask me, "What did you do today mom?" Well, what did I do today...
6:07am - Sonora's awake but I'm not quite ready to be so I pull her into bed with me where she holds my face, pokes my nose, pulls open my mouth.
6:30am - Alarm goes off. As much as I want to stay in bed it's time to get up and to get everyone else up for the day.
6:37am - Try to wake up Rita and Hazel who refuse to get out of bed. I keep trying to persuade them to hurry so that they don't keep the family waiting for scripture study.
6:45am - Scripture study with the family.
7:00am - Breakfast with the kids, brushing and styling hair while the girls eat, administering cough medicine to the two kids who have colds, remind kids to say "thank you for the food, may I be excused?" when they finish eating and to brush their teeth for two minutes, gather up the remaining books due at the library to avoid library fines, find Hazel's lost homework and sign Rita's reading chart
7:35am - Load everyone in the car and head off the school.
7:42am - Drop Karl off at the Grange so he can walk to school and get their early for Chess Club
7:46am - Sign Rita's reading chart then kiss Phillip, Rita, and Hazel good-bye and wish them a good day at school
7:53am - Pull into the garage and check my e-mails quickly while Sonora is still buckled in her car seat and cannot pound on the computer keyboard
7:58am - Unload Sonora from the car and come inside and start a load of laundry.
8:03am - Clear dishes off of the table, make a phone call to the temple to schedule an appointment for Karl to do baptisms for the dead next week.
8:09am - Call mom to say hi, talk with Dad about work stuff, talk with mom about the kids, all while folding laundry.
8:32am - Sit down and eat breakfast with Sonora, unload dishwasher, wash dishes and reload dishwasher, wipe off table
9:00am - Pull out my weights and start exercising
9:22am - Answer a phone call about cub scout day camp
9:24am - Continue exercising
9:37am - Pause exercising and change Sonoar's poopie diaper
9:41am - Begin exercising again.
9:53am - Answer a return phone call from the Portland Temple to schedule Karl's baptism trip
10:00am - Try to finish exercising
10:13am - Leave Sonoara watching a show while I take a quick shower
10:18am - Sonora discovered me in the shower and is now flushing the toilet repeatedly and spitting into it
10:46am - After showering, getting dressed, and blow drying my hair, it's back to folding laundry...but wait, Sonora is still back in the bathroom playing with my make-up
10:54am - Folding laundry once again
11:16am - Sonra's "hungy" so time for lunch
11:21am - Lunch with Sonora.
11:39am - Clear lunch dishes, wipe of table and pick out books to read to Sonora
12:01pm - Time for nap Sonora. Okay, I'll read you a few more books
12:22pm - Now it's really nap time. Two songs and a kiss good night
12:24pm. - Oh ya, time to switch the laundry I started this morning.
12:27pm. - Debate whether I should fold laundry, take a nap, or send out e-mails for work, Primary and Friend of Nellie Muir?
12:30pm - E-mails win. Sit down and begin reading and sending out e-mails.
1:58pm - Feeling a little more on top of things but still tired, maybe I could rest for a few minutes before picking the kids up from school. Wait, I have to get a few letters ready to mail.
2:03pm - Sonora's awake and needs a few Mommy cuddles
2:12pm - Load Sonora in the car, grab a few snacks for the road, check the mail, and head off to pick up the kids from school
2:22pm - Wait in line to pick up the kids
2:26pm - Greet Phillip, Rita and Hazel with a smile and I love you. Let them know we have three errands to run and then we can head home.
2:30pm - Stop by the bank to deposit a check for our business.
2:36pm - Stop at the post office and mail a few letters for work.
2:44pm - Find a parking spot at the library, unload everyone, return books, and read books with the kiddos. Encourage Rita and Phillip to check out chapter books rather than graphic novels. Ask Sonora not to climb on the window ledge. Take Hazel to the bathroom for an emergency potty break.
3:26pm - Check out our arm loads of books and two movies that somehow got snuck into our checkout pile. Remember to grab the book Karl he had placed on hold.
3:41pm - Arrive home, remind everyone to take everything inside the house rather than leave it in the van.
3:42pm - Hazel's asks if she can watch one of the movies she checked out. Sure, but just one movie Hazel.
3:48pm - Cub scout family stops by to drop off some extra pop bottles/cans for the fundraiser. Visit with them.
3:55pm - Respond to several texts and e-mails I have received in response to the emails and texts I sent out earlier in the day.
4:17pm - Review Phillip's Webelo requirements and print out a list of what he has left to do.
4:29pm - Update family calendar with new events coming up.
4:36pm - Switch the laundry again.
4:42pm - Respond to a handful of e-mails for cub scouts, reformat a flyer for Friends of Nellie Muir.
5:01pm - Start making dinner with Sonora's help. Tell everyone that it's time to turn off the movie and begin working on homework.
5:05pm. - Clean up the flour Sonora spilled while helping me cook.
5:07pm - Recruit Phillip to help cook part of dinner.
5:08pm - Ask Rita to start her homework.
5:10pm - Tell Hazel she can have time on PBSkids.org once she has read two books on her own
5:17pm - Put dinner in the oven
5:22pm - Ask Rita to set the table now that she is done with homework
5:26pm - Respond to a few more texts
5:31pm - Wash dishes, continue chopping vegetables for dinner
5:37pm - Welcome Dusty and Karl home for the day. Give Karl a Tylenol to help with his cold symptoms. Give Hazel some cold medicine too.
5:45pm - Look at a sign Dusty is making for the business and confirm that he has a enough time to run to the store to buy some additional supplies for it before dinner is ready
5:53pm - Ask Rita to again set the table.
5:54pm - Remind Phillip that he should be working on his homework rather than reading the graphic novel he checked out from the library
6:01pm - Finish up dinner, invite everyone to come sit at the table for dinner
6:06pm - Blessing on the food, time to eat.
6:07pm - Sonora keeps trying to put her spoon in her cup of milk. I take away her spoon. She is devastated and crying hysterically.
6:08pm - Trying to ask the kids about new things they are learning at school.
6:11pm - Sonora's still up set about the spoon I confiscated. Ask Phillip to try and feed her. He succeeds by imitating an airplane.
6:31pm - Dinner's done and everyone is tired and on the verge of a cold, so it's just time for bed.
6:32pm - Diaper change for Sonora and jammies on.
6:45pm - Good night prayers with the girls.
6:54pm - Start doing dinner dishes
7:01pm - Sister missionaries arrive for a short lesson.
7:37pm - Say good bye to the Sister missionaries and switch the laundry.
7:50pm - Work on dinner dishes
8:18pm - Switch laundry and back to folding again.
9:02pm - Switch final load of laundry and match socks.
9:38pm - Fold final few pieces of clothing

9:39pm - Deliver laundry to kids' rooms and hope they put it away first thing in the morning.
9:51pm - Check on Karl who is restless in bed. He's sweating a lot but doesn't want a drink of water or anything.
9:52pm - Laugh at Sonora who is now sleeping with her legs hanging out of the crib.
10:00pm - Head out to the shop to check on Dusty who is preparing things for a big delivery for our business tomorrow.
10:01pm - Hold the flashlight for Dusty out in the rain while he finishes putting up our business sign.
10:13pm - Receive fork-lift driving lesson from Dusty in preparation for receiving our shipment tomorrow.
10:18pm - Practice driving the forklift.
11:15pm - Head back inside to write in my journal to fulfill a challenge my sisters and I have decided to do for the next three weeks.
11:59pm - Finish my journal entry. Time to get ready for bed!
12:07am - Finish rereading my journal post checking for errors, now it's really time for bed!

Early Birthday Celebration

We decided to capitalize on a "No School" day and celebrate Hazel's birthday a few weeks early. (Actually, no school days are the perfect day to have birthday parties for our family because it still leaves our Saturday's open, and open Saturdays are a precious commodity in our family.)

Hazel decided to have a "Barbie Party" and invited a few friends to bring their favorite Barbie over to our house and to play for a couple of hours. It was a perfect fit for the little girls. It was fun listening to them verbalize their imaginations as they played.

Hazel enjoyed being the center of attention for a few hours. And she thoroughly enjoyed her pink cupcakes with sprinkles!

Some of this and some of that

These girls love playing with these masks. I'm sure they would love to go to a masked ball some day. 
Sonora is now starting to play "pretend" with the older girls instead of just destroying everything. This makes it more fun for her and for Rita and Hazel as they teach her how to play.
Dusty is a great wrestling coach, but even better he is a great dad. Phillip enjoyed wrestling in a tournament yesterday. He pinned four of his opponents and won by points in his final match. While he is still undecided about if he would like to play basketball in high school or wrestle, he is a strong boy with a deep love for sports.
For Cub Scout pack meeting this month we decided to visit residents of a local retirement home and make gingerbread houses with them. What a sweet (in more than one way) activity this was. The residents were so happy to be around the young kids and the kids were great with the residents. 
One gal, Edna, said she just came to watch because her hands were too arthritic to handle the small candies for decorating the houses. So Rita became her hands and together they built a beautiful house and memories. 
Our annual wrestling team dinner. It’s amazing how many teenagers can fit into our living room. It’s one of our favorite traditions! Four hams, five pans of funeral potatoes, two large pots of green beans, 75 rolls (we definitely need more of those next year), 100 sugar cookies and a white elephant gift exchange made for an eventful, but awesome evening.
Scouting for Food this morning with our Cub Scout Pack and local Fire Department. Serving others as the Savior does, by giving of ourselves and especially our time, brings hope to others and great meaning to our own lives.